On the Orange Bridge

On the Orange Bridge

I.

The bridge bears tiny trembling lives
across the wild and icy strait,
a miracle of miles.
So moves my life, suspended by

the scarce, but strong and sparkling, stakes
of kisses and of smiles.

Golden Gate Bridge from below, with waves lapping a rocky beach.

II.

If I could pray, my wishes might
arise like incense to the light
and cling to royal robes.
Yet I am weak; all I can give

is work and talk and love and live
on tangy glowing hopes.

Christina Egan © 2008

Golden Gate Bridge. Photograph by Christian Mehlführer.
‘Featured picture’ on Wikimedia Commons.

I wrote these lines just before I went to San Francisco. Coincidentally, I found it so cold there that I could not cross the bridge on foot even in September! Yet, it is gigantic and awe-inspiring, like many things in America, whether natural or man-made.

P.S.: I did get kissed on the bridge…! Thank you!

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Orange Beads

Orange Beads

I.

I nod to the flower
the colour of dark wine
stalks and spikes that tower
above my legs and spine

twin doors an orange spill
the only one in town?
why is my own door still
an ordinary brown?

O sweet day!

II.

All these parallel roads
the orange doors are where?
again the suburb soaks
in sunshine hello there!

they smile and say hello
all else though stays behind
their sturdy frames and so
I keep my orange find

two bright beads

III.

The hawthorn turns orange
the blackberry turns black
mingling at the park’s fringe
behind the cycle track

the sky is blue as if
this were a normal state
as if we could just live
beyond the iron gate

of summer

Christina Egan © 2016


In London, you can find many front doors painted in red, blue, or green, but I had never spotted an orange one. I have mentioned a striking yellow door elsewhere. I usually go out without a camera, but I capture impressions with my pen!

There are so many green spaces in London that you can walk through parkland for hours. To find blackberries and hawthorns tucked between a duck pond and a little copse is quite normal in this vast city of over eight million people.

The verse pattern is borrowed from the French poet, Jean-Yves Léopold, who does not have a website. Eight short rhymed lines, almost without punctuation, are followed by a ninth line which is even shorter and does not rhyme at all, so it stands out.

Augustfest

Augustfest

August.
Klangvolles,
sattgoldnes Wort,
beinah orangerot.

Abend.
Wort voll blauer Ruhe,
verborgener Kraft
und süßer Verheißung.

Norden.
Ein weites graues Feld
im Winter… im Sommer aber
ein ganz grüner Horizont.

Augustabend im Norden.
Ein Fest ist uns bereitet,
herrlich wie ein Hochzeitstag.
Schau dich doch um.

Christina Egan © 2016


Some more thoughts on the north of the planet… In winter all is grey, sky and land and water alike; but in summer, the world shines in blue and green and golden. This is before you look at the flowers and fruits, and the places and things whose colours show again, and the people who have come outdoors again. Winter lasts six months in Southern Europe, like in the myth of Persephone, but seven months in Central Europe and perhaps nine in Northern Europe… All the more do we enjoy the glories of summer!

This is one of many poems I wrote for my wedding anniversaries in August; I hope plenty of other people will be able to use it for their engagements, weddings, and anniversaries! The little poem I read at my wedding is simply called I Love You.

Orange Butterflies

Orange Butterflies
(Monarch Butterflies)

Brittle ochre leaves…
No – sinewy butterflies,
waiting through winter!

*

Orange butterflies,
tiny, tender, untiring,
crossing continents.

*

A swift golden cloud:
a million bright butterflies
following their stars.

*

Christina Egan © 2016

Clusters of deep-orange butterflies on deep-green leaves, similary shaped.

Monarch butterflies cluster in Santa Cruz, California.
Photograph by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

May Haiku (Bruce Castle)

May Haiku
(Bruce Castle)

Glowing orange orbs,
cluster of new-born planets:
this year’s first roses!

*

Dusk, delayed, scented:
the earth emerged from the dark,
bedecked like a bride.

*

Below the half-moon
a low-flying aeroplane
slices up the sky.

*

The tower-clock strikes,
bright, as if an angel called:
Be alive! Alive!

Christina Egan © 2013

You can see a photo of Bruce Castle, Tottenham, London and read some similar poetry in German at Himmelblaue Uhr.

London, This Moment of May

London, This Moment of May

I.

London, this moment of May.
High stately building, lower part in deep shade, upper part brightly lit, with red double-decker bus passing.A Grand Canyon in grey,
imperceptibly turning to purple,
with an orange glow on its battlements –
but teeming in all its cracks,
with foam of blossom and bird-flight,
with currents of people and cars.

Not a city, but a county, a country,
a proud world in itself,
the planet in a valley,
an open oblong fruit,
rich with glistening seeds,
in the giant hand of clay
hollowed out by the Thames.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016

II.

It is not mine, this city: I borrowed it.
I borrowed it for a home,
for a while,
I borrowed its language,
for good.

Or it borrowed me,
it borrowed my eyes
to mount this tall bus,
it borrowed my mouth
to sing this new song.

I run through its veins
of walls and windows,
of trees and lanterns…
A Grand Canyon in grey.

Or it runs through my veins,
a pale-purple stream,
murmuring, glittering…
London, this moment of May.

Christina Egan © 2013


 

The title alludes to the famous line by Virginia Woolf:
“… what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.”
I happened to write my poem in May, on a red bus…


 

P.S.:

A year later, the climate across Europe has slid further into resentment towards foreigners or strangers of any description, be they war refugees or your next-door neighbours. There is a lot of blind anger and fear of vague entities like ‘Europe’ or ‘Islam’. This is the road to racism and fascism.

My essay about my identity as an immigrant to England stayed on the front page of trade union UNISON‘s website for weeks: I dream in English. I come from one country, live in another, and plan to move to a third; yet my main identity is European at any rate!

Winter Sunrise in Morocco / in England

Winter Sunrise in Morocco

Orange tree full of fruit and rose tree with large roses in front of high pink wallsthe rainbow scarf of the sky
stretched out above the battlements

awesome and unnoticed
by the markets which never sleep

and millions of golden roses
rolled out along the highways

in the carved and inlaid caskets
of the powdery-pink courtyards

strings of peach-coloured roses
clusters of orange-blossom and fruit

Christina Egan © 2012

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012

You can read a German poem about a Moroccan city at In Marrakesch. The buildings and walls of Marrakesh are pink by law!

Around the turn of the year, I found it warm and sunny by day and pleasantly mild by night. In fact, people were hoping for some rain…

Winter sunrise in England

at the edge of the orb of the earth
a mighty web of finest twigs

painted onto leaf gold
by a master’s hand

and then the blob of molten gold
so bright that it seems to melt them too

like a favour from the heavens
like the face of a god

as if life were possible
one more day one more winter

Christina Egan © 2012

In northern Europe, the winter is so hard that by the beginning of spring, you may feel, even if you are not at all old, that it was the last one you reached.

In Germany, it is cold by day and by night for many months, there is snow and ice, and above all, the nights are long and the days often dull so that you may not see the face of the sun for days; in England, the cold is less bitter, but — which is worse it reaches indoors…